SEATTLE -- An outspoken community activist has thrown her hat into the race for state representative in the 43rd district. If she wins, Danni Askini would be the state's first transgender elected official.
No matter what your view is on transgender issues, you'll likely agree what Askini is doing takes guts.
"I've talked to maybe a hundred people in my life, maybe more, in thinking about making this decision. I've been here before. I know what it's like to be in the public eye," said Askini.
After leading rallies for transgender rights in Olympia, the 33-year-old activist wants to work there. The state's 43rd district represents some of the most liberal areas of Seattle.
"I have worked quite a bit in Olympia and met with many legislators on both sides of the aisle, who are respectful, who are focused on the issues," said Askini. "There will always be people who are unwelcoming or who are mean. And I am a person who will stand up for myself."
Askini says she's ready to stand up for others too. Her personal story touches on many of the social issues Seattle faces today.
"I, unfortunately, experienced homelessness as a young person, [like a] lot of people here in Seattle," she said. "We are having a homelessness crisis here in Seattle, as well. I was lucky enough to get into the foster care system, which really helped turn my life around and created a lot of opportunities to me. And I went to college on a tuition waiver."
As the founder of the Gender Justice League, she's served as an advisor to the Seattle Police Department on its soon to be announced transgender policy.
"We actually at the start of this year started to see a reduction in hate crimes, which is a big turnaround," Askini said. "Last year we were the city with the highest percentage of hate crimes per capita of any city in the U.S."
In the next few months, Askini will try to show voters there are other issues she wants to be known for.
"Champion for healthcare, champion for housing, champion for young people," she said. "I think there are a lot of things I see myself as. Transgender is just one label that is a piece of a much bigger story."